UK Government Urged to Recognise Genocide Against Iraqi Kurds

Meg Munn
September 09, 2013

PNCP member Meg Munn MP and Nadhim Zahawi MP, co-Chairs of the Kurdistan region All-Party Parliamentary Group, accompanied by survivors of the chemical weapons attack in Halabja, delivered 182 letters to 10 Downing Street asking the UK government to formally recognise that genocide had taken place in Iraqi Kurdistan from 1987 to 1988. Each of the 182 letters represents 1,000 people killed during the brutal campaign by the ruling Iraqi Ba’athist regime on the Kurdish population living in Iraq.

The killings were undertaken by forces under the command of Saddam Hussein. He called it ‘Al Anfal’ meaning the ‘spoils of war’ and it claimed the lives of men, women and children. Included in the campaign of killing was the use of starvation, ground offensives, aerial bombing, systematic destruction of settlements, mass deportations, firing squads and chemical weapons. The attacks destroyed approximately 4,500 Kurdish villages in areas of northern Iraq and displaced at least a million of the estimated 3.5 million Kurdish population.

14th April is the date in 1988 on which the largest of these operations took place and in 2007 it was declared Anfal Day by the Kurdistan Regional Government. It is the time when the victims are remembered, and with mass graves still being uncovered in Iraq they deserve international recognition. On the 28th February 2012 the UK Parliament adopted a motion formally recognising the genocide of the people of Iraqi Kurdistan, joining the Parliaments of Norway and Sweden in upholding justice, and condemning this flagrant crime against humanity.

Article 2 of the 1949 United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide defines genocide as "acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group".

Meg said:

“The suffering of the Kurdish people at the hands of Saddam Hussein can never be undone. However, I hope that the letters delivered today push the Prime Minister and Government into following the lead of Parliament in sending a clear message that genocide is recognised and will not be tolerated.

Many Iraqi Kurds suffered horrific deaths and as the world once again sees chemical weapons being used in Syria we have to do more if we really mean "never again".


Photo by Muffet.

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